Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 27 January 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). In Donetsk the SMM observed damage caused by recent shelling. The SMM went to the border crossing points between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Marynivka and Uspenka.
The SMM heard in Donetsk incoming and outgoing shelling throughout the afternoon and evening of 27 January. Both distant and closer shelling was audible, but the SMM could not determine the exact point of origin of the firing or the type of artillery used. The SMM heard occasional outgoing Grad rocket fire from within Donetsk, and within 5km of the SMM’s location, but could not ascertain the direction from which the missile was fired.
Two SMM patrols were refused passage at a Ukrainian checkpoint west of Donetsk close to territory controlled by “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). The Ukrainian checkpoint commander said that nobody, including the OSCE, was allowed to pass. The SMM observed a 500-metre line-up of vehicles on “DPR”-controlled territory, including a bus, waiting to cross west into government-controlled territory. The SMM also observed numerous fresh craters of shelling near the checkpoint and in the adjacent fields.
The SMM observed in Kyivskyi and Kuibyshevskyi districts (approximately 6km north-west of Donetsk city-centre, both “DPR”-controlled) damage caused by shelling on 25 and 26 January according to local residents. The SMM observed damaged buildings and shattered windows of houses. While in Artema Street, the SMM heard several explosions most likely of mortar grenades approximately 500 metres north-east of SMM’s location. At Horovodnaya Street, the SMM heard what it assessed to be both incoming and outgoing shelling at a distance of approximately 1km to the north-east.
In Chervonohvardiyskyi and Kirovskyi districts of Makiivka (7km north-east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) the SMM observed several houses damaged by shelling, which according to local residents had occurred on 18, 19 and 21 January. There were also shelling impacts on the roads and in the yards. The SMM also visited a school at Krylova Street and observed what it assessed to be damage from shelling, reported to have taken place on 26 January. The SMM saw at the school some 100 broken windows and damaged walls and heating system. At all three locations in Makiivka, the SMM heard outgoing and incoming mortar shelling and artillery fire from various directions. Some shelling was as close as 500 metres to the SMM, but the SMM could not observe any weaponry.
The SMM went to the border crossing points Marynivka (75km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled), and Uspenka (70km south-east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. At Marynivka border crossing point the SMM talked with a dozen travellers leaving towards the Russian Federation with their vehicles. All passengers gave similar reason for leaving: the ongoing shelling of their homes and neighbourhoods in Donetsk, Tores (69km west of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) and Snizhne (80km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled); the inability to receive Ukrainian pensions and the economic crisis and lack of employment.
Also at Marynivka border crossing point, the SMM counted 21 vehicles leaving Ukrainian territory. The average wait time, according to the drivers, was approximately 90 minutes. At Uspenka border crossing point, the SMM counted 87 vehicles exiting Ukraine, with an average waiting time of about six hours.
The SMM met representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Soledar (77km north-east of Donetsk): the Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC who came from Debaltseve for this specific meeting and the Russian Major-General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC and “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) members were all present. Comment: The Russian Major-General, and his staff, and members of “LPR” and the “DPR”, had been absent from the JCCC headquarters in Debaltseve since 21 January, staying instead in Soledar, see SMM daily Report 21 January 2015. According to the representatives of both sides of the JCCC, they have recorded 142 cease-fire violations in their respective area of responsibility in the last 24 hours preceding 8:00hrs on 26 January.
The Ukrainian Major-General said that in the last 24 hours preceding 8:00hrs on 26 January there had been nine Ukrainian soldiers killed in action and 29 wounded. The Russian Federation Major-General reported that between 23 and 27 January, there had been 29 civilians killed and 57 injured in “DPR”- and “LPR”-controlled territory. The SMM could not independently verify this information.
The SMM heard near the government-controlled village of Raihorodka (38km north-west of Luhansk) at 13:10hrs a full Multi Launch Rocket System outgoing shelling lasting for five minutes. The SMM estimated that the launch was taking place in a south-easterly direction at a distance of 5-6km but could not identify the impact zone.
The SMM met with the chief of police and the Kryvbas volunteer battalion commander in Kryvyi Rih (146km south-west of Dnepropetrovsk). Regarding the fourth wave of mobilization, both interlocutors stated that they anticipated it to be rather difficult to implement. According to the plan, about 800 individuals are supposed to be mobilized within a week. However, a considerable number of people are trying to avoid mobilization by various means, the interlocutors said. During the previous mobilization process the police opened about 100 cases in relation to alleged evasion. Four of them were forwarded to the court; the rest most likely will be closed as the suspects eventually managed to present documents proving their exemption from the mobilization due to family issues, health condition, etc.
In co-operation with a local NGO – Faith, Hope and Love – the SMM in Odessa conducted a group-discussion on 26 January with ten female internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, some of whom had been sex workers prior to their displacement. All of them currently work as sex workers in Odessa. They said they had come to Odessa, because it was a Russian-speaking and generally tolerant city. They, however, said that the work was dangerous and they did not feel safe. They in particular said they sometimes felt threatened if their origin was revealed, and therefore they tended to avoid any mention of the situation in Donbas.
The SMM attended in Ivano-Frankivsk the weekly city council public briefing. Also present at the briefing was the representative of the military recruitment office who said that during the upcoming mobilization all drafted personnel will receive 30 days of training, as well as an additional 15 days of preparation. He said that all conscripts would receive the necessary clothing, equipment and food. He estimated that about 4,000 conscripts meeting the mobilization criteria are available for service in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. The men drafted now will replace those drafted in March 2014 during the first mobilization wave. The military recruitment office representative stated that previously only 10% of conscripts had actually received their draft notices. To improve this system, the new military mobilization law changed the draft notice distribution system so that now village heads and company heads are responsible for delivering the notices.
The situation in Kharkiv, Kherson, Chernivtsi and Lviv was calm.